Former Governor Eric Greitens (R-MO) managed to spark outrage on both sides of the political aisle with an ad touting permits to hunt Republicans In Name Only (RINOs).
Greitens opened the ad as he has most of his political ads in the past, highlighting his military service as a former Navy SEAL — and then went on to show him alongside a full tactical team as he went “RINO-hunting” to cleanse his own party of the people he didn’t believe were conservative enough.
“We are sick and tired of the Republicans in Name Only surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left. Order your RINO Hunting Permit today!” he captioned the ad.
Setting the stage as though he was going big-game hunting on a safari, Greitens explained in exaggerated hushed tones that “the RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.”
He went on to advertise that there was “no bagging limit” as he and his team kicked in doors and called on viewers to “join the MAGA crew.”
But critics on both sides of the aisle were not impressed with the tone of the ad. Some pushed back on him because he was capitalizing on his military service for personal political gain and others because he was promoting political violence — a move that could be seen as particularly disturbing as it comes just weeks after a man traveled from California to Maryland with the intent to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Dispatch’s David French hit Greitens on both points, tweeting, “I’m not going to retweet that Greitens ad because he’s so obviously thirsty for the views, but the man is practically begging for political violence. And it’s particularly gross to declare himself a SEAL at the start. He’s making a mockery of the military ethos.”
VoteVets called for people to report Greitens for abusing his position as a former SEAL, adding, “Eric Greitens a member of the Navy Reserves has violated DOD policy by identifying himself as a ‘SEAL’ and using military uniforms without a disclaimer. Contact the Naval Inspector General Hotline at NAVIGHotlines@navy.mil or (800)522-3451 and report this abuse.”
“One more thing: With gun violence and mental health issues being at the forefront of our discourse in recent weeks, you’d think that maybe someone in Greitens’ circle would say something,” Red State Senior Editor Joe Cunningham pointed out.
“Let’s place the blame for this violent ad where it belongs, at the doorsteps of Kevin McCarthy & Mitch McConnell. They’ve failed to confront & condemn the MAGA radicals of their party. Now it’s out of control & threatens everyone’s freedom,” Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper added, “You’d think a Senate candidate accused of spousal and child abuse by his ex-wife — to say nothing of the accusations he sexually assaulted and blackmailed his former hairdresser — might consider a less violent appeal to voters.”
Political strategist Liz Mair noted, “This ad will get a lot of attention, but it’s also a lie — Greitens was blocked from rejoining the Seals after he was forced to resign due to his numerous scandals. He tried. The Seals said ‘no.’ But he’s trying to pass himself off as a Seal here…”
Jeff B. (@esotericCD) also pointed out that Greitens himself had been a Democrat until just before he decided to run in Missouri as a Republican.
“ERIC GREITENS: RINO hunter! ALSO ERIC GREITENS: Democrat until 2015, right before he decided to run for office,” he tweeted, adding, “I’m not even clutching my pearls over the violent “RINO hunting” military imagery. It’s a pathetic provocation. I just think it’s rich that a guy who planned his entire life around running as a Democrat and made a quick late switch is gonna *condescend* to me like that.”